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Unformatted text preview: gid recursive cycles. ♦♦♦♦♦ Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic Hoffman, L. (1980). The family life cycle: a framework for family therapy. New York: Gardner. Ch 3. The Family Life Cycle and Discontinuous Change.” 53-57. In this article Lynn Hoffman integrates common, though sometimes ignored, observations about the surprising ways families change, together with the scientific research on change process models, particularly those drawn from biology or physics. She outlines mechanisms for change that expand the family system’s cybernetic view, reexamines the meaning of symptoms, and suggests ways that therapists can intervene with families in crisis to foster creative leaps in functioning. She also relates these observations to the family life cycle. The systems model of families is, at its core, a homeostatic model. Most behaviors, particularly symptomatic behaviors, are thought to keep the family functioning within a relatively unvarying range with respect to such characteristics as closeness, independence, power structures, and the like. When the system threatens to exceed that range, feedback mechanisms work to bring the behaviors back into a familiar static state. The model would predict that when change occurs, it happens slowly. Hoffman suggests that the model is compelling, in part, because it seems to explain the apparent “stuckness” that family therapists observe. Family members’ tenacious resistance implies that they need the symptom to maintain equilibrium. But as Hoffman observes, families often do not change in a smooth continuous progression. Instead, they make sudden, often creative, shifts – called discontinuous changes – either on their own or in therapy. Platt (cited in Hoffman, 1980) distinguishes three kinds of change, depending on the type of system. If the system is externally designed, like an engine, then change will have to be made by someone outside, like a mechanic. If it is internally designed, like a flower that contains a genetic blueprint, change occurs through mutations of the genetic ma...
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